About Us


It is the duty of the vestry to promote the church to the existing congregation and the parish that
surrounds the church as well as the image that is portrayed by the church. 

An Episcopal Vestry

An Episcopal vestry is a group of elected parish members who oversee the church operations. The vestry assists the rector and have promotional, institutional, financial, and personnel responsibilities within the church.
It is the duty of the vestry to promote the church to the existing congregation and the parish that surrounds the church as well as the image that is portrayed by the church. Through this promotional program the church will be able to grow and attract new members to the congregation.   The vestry is also responsible for the maintenance of the church property and handles the financial responsibilities of the church. The members will oversee the donations and tithes as well as dispersing funds to programs ran by the church. The taxes, utilities, payroll and other financial responsibilities are also approved and paid out by the members of the episcopal vestry. Finally, the vestry members have the duty to identify individuals who can fill open positions at the church and for providing training and guidance to those individuals.

Our Senior Warden

Melanie Montenegro
Melanie M. Montenegro is a dynamic leader and team player with outstanding management and operational skills. She is also an experienced attorney in the media and entertainment industry. Melanie is currently the President of a professional employer organization, PEOPayGo and is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of OCMI Workers Compensation & Professional Services. She was previously the VP, Business and Legal Affairs for NBCUniversal's Telemundo Enterprises and General Counsel of a public media company in Miami, FL. Melanie and her wife Sherri relocated to Miami from New York City in 2006. In 2009, they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, and are now a happy family of three. melaniestepsmia@gmail.com

Members of the Vestry

Kurt Bauer
Kurt R. Bauer is the Deputy Division Chief, Geospatial Intelligence Division (GID), Joint Intelligence Operations Center – SOUTH, United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Mr. Bauer joined the Department of Defense in May of 1992 with his commission in the United States Navy as a submarine junior officer. Following his naval service, he served as the Senior Operations Analyst for Sonalysts, Inc.in Waterford Connecticut before moving to Miami to serve as the Underground Targeting and Analysis System (UTAS) Program Manager to SOUTHCOM representing the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Kurt is an active community leader and spends a great deal of time working with the Boy Scouts as the Scoutmaster for Troop 336 in Coral Gables, FL. Kurt and his wife, Erin, live in Miami, FL, and have one daughter and one son.

Debby Hutchins
Debby Hutchins had a 40-year career as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the Miami Dade County Public School system before retiring in 2011. She was chairperson for Speech, Language, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing Services in Region VI. She and her husband Joe have two adult sons, both of whom attended St. Thomas Parish School years ago. A member of St. Thomas since 1972, Debby is a volunteer in the church office, serves on the Christmas decorating committee, was active in the Cursillo community, trained and worked as a Stephen Minister, and is a volunteer with the Homeless Assistance Center in Homestead.
Rob McDougal
Robert McDougal, IV, is a native Miamian. He and his wife Caryn have two daughters, and they have been members of St. Thomas for 20 years. Rob has been a business owner and a former president of an international luxury yacht company, and currently is the executive director for Fowler White Burnett, a 73-year-old law firm. He understands business, people, and the importance of a team philosophy. He is an usher at St. Thomas and participates frequently in the Homeless Assistance Center program with fellow church members. Rob also participates with the law firm in the Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build annually.
Mary Lou Shad
Born in Venezuela, raised in South Miami, Mary Lou is a retired Neonatal ICU Associate Head Nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital and former Guardian ad Litem with the 11th Circuit Court. The Shads came to worship at St. Thomas after hurricane Andrew. Mary Lou has been a Sunday school teacher, member of two choirs and the Contemporary Music Group. She has been on three Cursillo teams. Mary Lou has been a leader in Stephen Ministry. She completed EFM and facilitated EFM classes for four years. She is currently a trained facilitator with DOCC. Mary Lou currently serves as clerk of the vestry and the vestry liaison for Pastoral Care. tom.lulu@att.net

Kitty Espinosa
Catherine “Kitty” Koch Espinosa is an attorney and mediator specializing in Workers Compensation law. She has a JD from the University of Miami, a BA from FIU, and two undergraduate years at the American University of Paris. At St. Thomas she has served as an usher, a member of the Outreach Committee and the Children’s Committee, and in a variety of other capacities. She is married to Jorge Espinosa and has one son now in college at Columbia University who graduated from St Thomas. Kitty was involved in her son’s schools as an active parent and more recently as the Chair of the Book Fair and International Committee at Palmer Trinity.
Alejandro Ceron
Global Human Capital Executive, Stared his career in Mexico with Celanese, Pepsi, Philips in the Netherlands, leading HR for the Global Business Group of Automotive and Special Lighting, and 14 years for Marsh & McLennan in the United States, leading HR and Sales Operations for Latin America. Most recently founded his own boutique with focus on Corporate Governance, Customer Centricity and the growth of Family Firms as well as Co-Founder of the Strategic Human Capital Consortium. Alejandro, his wife and three daughters have been members of St. Thomas since 2016. That same year Alejandro became responsible on behalf of St. Thomas of feeding the homeless at Chapman partnership at Downtown Miami.
Melissa Johnson Tolmach
Melissa is a wife, mother, daughter, longtime Episcopalian and Miami native. She was raised at St.Philips Episcopal Church in Coral Gables and has been a member of St. Thomas since 1996. Melissa’stwo children, Miles (8) and Anderson (5), attend St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School and her husband,Peter, is Head of Middle School at Palmer Trinity School. She works as an Interior Designer and ProjectManager for developer 13th Floor Investments in Miami. Melissa has served on the boards of The JuniorLeague of Miami and Beaux Art at the University of Miami. Melissa attended Florida State University.
Virginia Wheeler
Virginia  has been an active member of St. Thomas for over thirty years.  Born in New York, BA degree from Wells college, married to Willard and has 5 grown daughters, and has served many ministries at St. Thomas.  She  has been the vestry twice, chair of the fiftieth anniversary of the church, Altar Guild director and preserving the history of this Parish.